FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — In a motion hearing, a judge dismissed one count against 27-year-old Fond du Lac gas station clerk Sanju Paudel—who was charged with providing alcohol to a minor resulting in death.
After a preliminary hearing that followed, the case is bound over for trial.
Prosecutors say Paudel sold beer and rum to two sixteen-year-olds at a Shell gas station the night before they died after crashing a car into a tree.
The preliminary hearing featured testimony from a detective, who said surveillance footage shows Paudel not checking identification before selling the alcohol.
The state brought two counts of providing alcohol to a minor resulting in death against Paudel, arguing that she should be charged in the death of both the teen driving the car and the teen in the passenger seat.
Both teens consumed alcohol that night, according to an autopsy.
“This defendant's actions, in selling alcohol to Victim 2, to was a substantial factor in Victim 1's death, because both the Victim 1 and 2's death was the result of Victim 2’s blood alcohol concentration, which was the alcohol sold by this defendant,” Fond du Lac District Attorney Eric Toney said.
The defense argued that Paudel should not be charged in the death of the teen in the passenger seat.
“If we were to broaden the statute to the point that the government has presented in count one, it could cover anybody's death who had any blunt force causation based on the actions of a minor who consumes alcohol,” defense attorney Nathan Otis said.
The judge dismissed one of the counts, and said the state law requires only the charge relating to the death of the teen in the driver seat to proceed in court.
“As an example, if a minor drove after consuming alcoholic beverages provided by an adult defendant and hit a bystander, there would not be grounds under the statute for the person who provided the alcohol to the minor to be charged,” Fond du Lac County Judge Tricia Walker said.
The state now has 30 days to file information.